How wonderful it is to forecast the coming changes in your business. Your sales will become easier the whole and you are well on the way to become a highly-commissioned-top sales manager. Here are 7 steps for your to reach this dream.
While I haven’t found any spheres with magical powers just yet, I have met a handful of sales professionals who seem to be able to predict the future. Best of all, they do it without the use of expensive technology or other gimmicks. In fact, they usually rely on little more than old-school, ear-to-the-ground business intelligence.
Here are the seven steps to following their example and learning to tell the future in sales:
Know your industry.
If you don’t already know what’s going on in your business – who the major players are, what trends have been taking place, what your competitors are up to, and so on – then the rest of this advice is going to be worthless. Take the time to bring yourself up to speed. Product and industry knowledge aren’t an edge over your competition, they are job requirements.
Once you’ve figured out the lay of the land, stay on top of it. Read business journals and trade magazines, attend industry trade shows and meetings, subscribe to online news feeds; make sure that, as trends and major developments take shape, there isn’t any way you are going to miss out.
Develop close relationships not only with your buyers, but with their colleagues and support staff. You are looking for two things here: insight into their buying decisions, as well as front-line sources of news within your clients’ companies. While personnel changes or the formation of buying groups might not change the pecking order in your industry, they can have a serious impact on your sales numbers, so stay in the loop.
This is probably the hardest part of the process… and the most critical. As you get more and more familiar with your company and its products, your competitors, and all of the potential major buyers out there, try to make guesses as to where things are headed. A good practice is to sit for five minutes a day and write your impressions on blank sheet of paper; over time, you’ll start to recognize some similarities in your thoughts, which could be patterns you’ve picked up on subconsciously.
Think like a buyer.
If you think you’ve spotted a new technology, idea, or way of thinking about things, take the concept a bit further and envision it from your buyer’s point of view. How would things change for them if this development took place? What problems or opportunities might be present?
Sketch out scenarios.
Now, work backwards and figure out where you fit in the process. How can you help your buyers assure themselves that they will come out ahead in the future? What action do you need to take, or expertise do you have to pick up, to be uniquely positioned to guide them?
Use what you know.
By this point, your next course of action should be pretty clear. Don’t just stop with having an idea of what might happen down the road; generate proposals, write articles, and otherwise make yourself a recognized expert for solving the problem while taking advantage of the change. With this kind of head start on your competitors – who will likely be caught by surprise when the marketplace shifts – you will have an easier time opening bigger, better accounts.
It’s amazing how many of the biggest trends in business could have been predicted months or years ahead of time by a salesperson who is willing to connect the dots. Learn to spot changes in your industry before they are obvious to everyone else, and you’ll get a leg up on the process of becoming a superstar salesperson.
Carl Henry is a management consultant. He specializes in helping companies in the selection of top sales and customer service talent. Carl is also a Certified Speaking Professional and the author of several books and articles related to sales, sales management, and customer service. He conducts seminar and webinar for clients worldwide.
Get your mini e-Book (free download) 18 pages. “Are You Recovery Ready” at http://www.carlhenryblog.com
You can contact Carl at 704-847-7390
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